2 Week Japan Itinerary Review

Feb 3rd, 2017, 06:42 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 1
2 Week Japan Itinerary Review

My boyfriend and I are traveling to Japan for 2 weeks in July/August. We are especially interested in spending time in Tokyo and experiencing everything that the city has to offer.

I have done quite a bit of research as to where else to travel in the country, but would love some feedback. We will be buying JR passes for our trip.

Thanks in advance for your travel advice.

Days 1-4 Tokyo
5 Kanazawa
6 Takayama
7-10 Kyoto
11 Nara to Koyasan
12 Hakone
13-14 Tokyo (fly out)
abergmann is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2017, 07:25 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,360
Do you already have your flights? If not, consider flying into Tokyo and out of Osaka or vice versa and see if you can put all your time in Tokyo in one block.

IMO, a day is not enough for either Kanazawa or Takayama. IMO, that pair of cities is better seen with about 5 days, but of course, it depends on what you want to see and experience.

You aren't leaving yourselves very much time for Koyasan, as the travel to either side of your visit there takes quite some time.

Good luck!
kja is offline  
Feb 4th, 2017, 12:01 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
I think you're pushing it a little with this itinerary.

Don't forget to take travel time into account when you plan your one nighters - by the time you check out, make the journey to the next place, leave your luggage at the hotel, how much time will you actually have left to see anything in the remainder of that same day and then you're off again next morning.

I'd recommend a *minimum* of 2 nights for Kanazawa (so you could at least visit and enjoy your pick of the key sights there in a full day between 2 nights) and same goes for Takayama.

I can't tell from your itinerary exactly how many nights you have in Tokyo at the start and the end. In a two week itinerary, I'd do no more than 4 or 5 nights in Tokyo, and unlike some, I'm in agreement with your plan to split them between beginning and end. You can stay in two different parts of Tokyo, one on arrival and one before departure.

Kyoto, the more nights you can give it the better, especially if you're planning any day trips out from there. There is a LOT to see and do in Kyoto.

To visit Koyasan, you'll need to get going at reasonable time on your travel day there to get there early enough to arrive at your temple (assuming you are staying in one) in time for dinner, which is often served quite early. You'll then be able to walk around in the evening afterwards. In the morning, you'll get up early to join the prayers, and then breakfast, and you may want to visit the graveyard again during the day before leaving for the next place. So with travel, that's the better part of the two days there. I can't work out how Nara fits with this?
Kavey is offline  
Feb 4th, 2017, 08:03 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,587
That's very busy. Do you LOVE to ride trains? I think you have Kanazawa and Takayama in the wrong order.

What you have so far is a narrowed down list of possible stops and not a plan. It is a very good list to work from. You need to figure it out in more detail. Figure out the travel times, get more info on what you want to see/do in each location, and then figure out if the stop is worthwhile. If a destination costs 5 hours of travel and you only have 6 hours to visit before moving on, then is that stop worthwhile to you. A travel-time vs visiting-time cost benefit analysis.

I think that you are being overly ambitious at this point and that is revealed by the second sentence in your OP. You aren't going to be "experiencing everything" in Tokyo in just two full days.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Feb 4th, 2017, 01:57 PM
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 301
If you are flying into/out of Narita and using the JR Pass from there, you are barely breaking even with the 14 day pass. If not, then you're falling a bit short.
Actually, I'd say you're putting too much time in Tokyo - about 3-4 days is enough. Instead you could take a day trip to see Nikko, or in Kansai a day trip to Himeji is worthwhile and would add value to your pass.

Please be aware you can't go all the way to Koyasan or Hakone on the Pass. Look into getting a Koyasan World Heritage Ticket and Hakone Free Pass.

With the faster connections, going to Takayama by way of Nagoya or Kanazawa both in the end would total about 4½ hours one way, so breaking up that long trip by first seeing Kanazawa makes sense. And with a better connection, it's just a bit over 3 hours from Takayama to Kyoto by way of Nagoya (and well over 5 hours by Kanazawa), since the Tokaido line is very busy and the more you can travel by bullet train, the better. So I'd say again that seeing Kanazawa first makes better sense.

You'll be seeing Kyoto in the brutal months of July/August, and with the city in a basin, it'll be even worse. If you find it too much, try going to see Kibune & Kurama as an escape.
Sanzenin makes a great outing too.
You can see others good places at

And if you're with your boyfriend, try some love hotels - they are unique and not expensive. Just bring some food and booze with you since you can't leave until you really leave.
Adastra2200 is offline  
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